The construction industry is a very specific industry in the sense that they work according to detailed instructions and specifications. You can’t build something as you go. Everything is pre planned and it has to be clearly communicated if not it can lead to poo quality products, massive delays, higher costs and angry clients.
So, to ensure proper communication of specification there is a standard process and this process usually has 3 types of specifications that help with the workflow.
What are Construction Specifications?
Specs as it is usually known are basically the details that depict the work that needs to be done in order to finish the project. Design specifications include details about scope of work, materials, quality of work and installation process. These specs help a lot especially because you find a lot of subcontractors in a construction project. Subcontractors will use these details as a guide when picking the materials and scope of work.
Specifications are legally binding and are part of the legal documents between the contractor and the project owner.
Construction specifications are made way before the project starts however all roles in a project will be involved because specifications will have both functional and technical specifications. The 3 main types of specifications are prescriptive, performance, and proprietary. No matter whether it’s a residential building specification or a commercial one this will usually remain the same.
These types of details focus on the installation of materials and materials used in the project. Either an engineer or architect will do the project design in this spec stage. Prescriptive specs will give a bigger picture of the project. Better than the other 2 types of specifications.
Prescriptive specs are typically broken down into execution, products and general. The general category has product handling, quality control, design requirements, and national quality standards. The products category will consist of the products required for different tasks. The execution phase as the name suggests will go over the installation process.
This type of specs goes over the operational requirements of the construction. It will basically tell what the final product can do. Usually in this stage, no instruction on how to do the tasks are given. What the product owners and engineers will tell the contractors is what they want to see in the final product.
Out of all the three specifications this will usually have the most testing involved. This type of specification also includes a risk because the owner will give the end product and trust that the contractor will get them there.
These specs are used for single products regardless of the type of installation. This type of specification is the least common out of all the specifications.
If the owner wants the materials to be consistent then you should go with proprietary specs. Propriety specs are discouraged because it can highlight a specific manufacturer. This can lead to less competition during the bidding phase.
Getting specifications right are very tie consuming but nowadays there are collaborative software that help owners, project managers, architects and engineers to manage everything in one place.